the subway story

This is a long one.
Watch out.

So lately it seems that I've been talking to everyone and their dog about ... you guessed it .... jobs. Did you seriously guess that? Everywhere I turn someone is getting a new job. Someone is going back to an old job. Someone is quitting their job. Someone is complaining about their current job. Or, unfortunately, someone is even losing their job. Job is the new baby, apparently. Job talk is everywhere. Jobs jobs jobs. So it's no surprise that I've been thinking about them too.
Jobs. Not babies.

Did I choose the right major? Did I choose the right career?
Am I in the right place? Am I doing what I want to do?
Am I doing what I love to do?
What am I good at? What am I not so good at?
Ha. There's a list I will not be showing you.

Job vs. Career. Career vs. Vocation. Vocation vs. Work. Work vs. Meaningful Work. Purposeful work. Just a few things consuming my mind lately. Now I know what you’re thinking. What in the world does a picture of K-State stuff have to do with a job? And what does the title “subway story” have to do with K-State stuff? Those are very good questions. I have absolutely no idea.
Just kidding. I do know.
So let’s start with the purple stuff. I went to K-State for my undergrad. It’s where Dan and I met. It’s where we went to prom together. It's where I learned how to drink Natural "natty" Light (once I turned 21, of course). And it’s where I met some of my best friends. It was a wonderful place. So when I started my first semester at KSU, I chose this awesome little major called "Accounting". Please laugh at this with me because I can barely do simple multiplication. And I just misspelled "multiplication" and had to correct it ... so we all know I was not meant to be an English major either.

But my big sis was majoring in Accounting, so of course, I wanted to be an Accountant too. I made it to ACC202 (Basic Accounting II) and said “oh hell no”. Yes, it was that bad.
So I went soul searching.
First I thought I would major in Pre-Med and be a Vet. I mentioned that back over here. But I soon realized that I love animals too much and hate blood and needles too much to be a Vet. So I moved on to Hotel and Restaurant Management.
Then Marketing.
Then Financial Planning.
Then ... 

Then I went to Subway.
Yes, the sandwich shop.
I went to Subway to get a footlong turkey sub. With extra veggies and extra mayo because you can get all of those extras for free. And when you're a poor college kid, free is always good. Oh who am I kidding ... when you're me, free is always good. So there I was with my veggie/mayo footlong sub, chillin on a street curb in Aggieville, before heading off to yet another class where I would sit and think about how I had no idea what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be.

And then I heard a man’s voice.
It was God.
Actually, it was a homeless man.
But you never know, right? :)

I heard a man’s voice asking me for some spare change.
And I looked up at this man, mid-Subway sandwich bite and looked into his eyes. And without even thinking I asked the man to sit down next to me. And he did. And without even thinking again (I didn't think a whole lot back in college) … I looked down at my footlong Subway sandwich and it suddenly didn't look like one footlong sandwich anymore. But rather two 6-inch sandwiches.
Get where I’m going with this?

So I gave the man who needed some spare change the other half of my Subway sandwich. He picked off about 90% of my free veggies (damn him!) and then devoured the rest in mere seconds.

And then we talked.
We talked about my college classes. And we talked about his dad, who had served in the military and had recently passed away. We talked about a nearby liquor store that was closing (he was not very happy about this) and we talked about how this man had been looking for work for the past several years.
And then I had to go to class. 

And the next day ... I changed my major to Human Services. Followed by an internship at a behavioral health center where I worked with the homeless. Followed by some more school for a degree in Counseling.

I haven’t thought about this Subway story for several years.
But lately I've felt the need for a little hope. Or direction. Or reassurance. Or something. This man helped me once before. So who knows, maybe he can help me again. :)

So, do you have a subway story?
Has any one particular person or one particular event helped guide you to make the career decisions that you've made to this day?


  1. that's an amazing story! I also went to grad school for a similar degree - social work - because I wanted to help people. I stay at home with my kids now though.

  2. Loved reading this. Funny how we find direction in the most unlikely of places!

  3. You can say I went into the "family business." My mom went back to school when I was 14 and got a nursing degree. When it came time to choose a major (after 2 years worth of classes at 2 different schools), I went for my BSN. And so, I became a nurse... lo and behold, a few years later, my baby sister also went to nursing school. What can I say? We are all gluttons for punishment. :)

    Not nearly as riveting as your Subway story, but that's how I got to be where I am today.

  4. So very interesting!! I actually have a similar story that also involves a homeless {wo}man. No joke. I will have to email you!! (it's long). :) You are such a great writer. I always enjoy reading your posts. I say the longer the better! ;)

  5. I took an internship in college because my best friend wanted me to work with him and it turned into a career in education. I love helping the underdog and I've found the right jobs to do just that!

  6. Loved reading this!! In fact , I teared up a bit. Gosh I'm so emotional. Thanks for sharing :)



  7. How lovely! There are lotsssss of people who wish they had a story like this.

  8. Your story is so inspiring! I love love love hearing about the paths people choose and how they end up where they are.

    I went to art school simply because no other school seemed like a good fit... art was the only thing I felt decent enough at to study. I chose a fiber major because I had no idea about anything fiber arts related and I wanted to get the most out of my studies. Now I work at a bookstore and do my art on the side, and I'm working on a starting a web store for my hand-dyed silk scarves. Not the most inspiring story, I'll admit, but its the path I've taken.

  9. Loved this!! I'm with Laura up there ... made me tear up a little. Such great writing my friend.

    1. P.S. I checked your blog over and over yesterday for a new post (ha!) but I never saw this one. You must have posted it after my bedtime ... that's not fair. ;)

    2. P.P.S. I can now comment on these posts without being a true blogger. This makes me happppy. And this is my last comment. Promise.

  10. Wow! That is a great story...I definitely think God gave you a little helping hand--getting you to visit that guy--so you would know what to do!

  11. Such a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing it with us. :)

    I haven't had my subway moment yet, but I know where I'm going for lunch today.

  12. Wow, I need a subway story - I'm still stuck in accounting over here!! In all seriousness though, very cool moment :)

  13. I changed my major about a billion times, too! Started with Psychology, then General Ed (which would be a Liberal Arts degree eventually), then Communications, then Liberal Arts again, then FINALLY Criminolgy & Criminal Justice (with a minor in Psych). My family was a victim of a violent crime, which is what pushed me in the direction of Criminal Justice.

    I don't feel like I'm in my final career place, though. I want to work with victims of violent crimes, which means I most likely would have to go to school..some more...and I already have a Master's degree. Sigh.

    Lovely post! <3

  14. Awesome story, Tiff! You are such an amazing person! :)

  15. I love this story. You were definitely meant to be in Human Services. Leave all that math schmath to your sis and I. I do love hearing how people end up where they are today, professionally and personally. My journey is a direct result of being a cocktail waitress at KatHouse. The rest is history, and might have to make it up to the blog someday... your story has inspired me to tell mine (although it's not nearly as sweet as yours).

  16. This is so inspiring and fantastic! I need a subway story... so in the meantime I'm just going to be inspired by yours :)

  17. Great story! Inspiration is everywhere :) I'm currently earning my masters in clinical counseling. Maybe one day I'll remember where this inspiration came from...

  18. What a great story, I wish I had a subway story, but I don't, I've just pretty much always known since I was mid-teens what area I have wanted to work in.

  19. This is so awesome, and I have my very own version, though maybe not as heartwarming as yours. I was majoring in Nutrition & Dietetics when my freshman composition prof asked me to stay after class. We went over some of my work and he told me I needed to consider studying English, something I had NEVER wanted to do. I changed my major to English a few months later on a complete whim, and it's one of the best decisions I've ever made. It opened up the whole world of writing to me, which has completely changed my life. Now, as far as a career in my field? I'm still working on that...

  20. I have never had that kind of validation, that kind of clarity about what I should be doing. Which is why I can't seem to settle on an actual career, I'm sure. I enjoy working, but I made the revelation this last year that I don't think that work will ever entirely fulfill me. I just want to live on a farm in the middle of nowhere, be self-sustaining, and work from home just so that we have travel money.

    But your story makes me insanely happy.

  21. What a great story!! I need a subway moment...I'm still searching. I have a bachelors in marketing choosing business because it was practical but still no clue what I should do...

  22. I'm late but whatevs! I've often packed my backpack with dog treats and some food for when I commute downtown daily for my job. I typically see homeless with pets and that just breaks my bloody heart. So, I give them some snacks and their dog some nibbles and it usually is welcome with a smile and many thank yous. I HATE seeing homeless with dogs, but I also know that these pets they mean the world to them and many sacrifice their needs for their best friend. I get it, they feel so alone and they've got no one on this planet, but they've got their best friend beside them........
    I've worked in a soup kitchen before as well and I've met some really interesting, neat people there.

    I work in the legal field and I've often thought I should have gotten into social work, or counselling, but I never thought I could leave work at work and not bring it home with me. Looking back, perhaps I should have done that. Or became a biologist and moved to Kenya.... But things are different now, I'm almost 30, I have family here, dogs, I'd have to quit my full time job to go back to school and that really won't work, not in the circumstances we are in.

  23. WOW I love this story. Thank you for sharing!

  24. I don't know how I missed this post! All I can say is, as I'm moving, planning my wedding, trying to spend time with a fiancé who lives an hour away and best friends who are states away, and finishing my masters in mental health SW ... Thank you for this. I needed - truly - to read this. It was like coffee with a friend :) hope your day is great Tiff!


There is nothing better than a blog comment. So thank you! I reply to comments right here under the post, so don't forget to check back if you ask a question. Or you can always email: thejonescoffeehouse@gmail.com.